The city of Racine’s health department ordered all schools closed through the holidays, ostensibly for the Covid-19 pandemic, but the city is going to have to defend that policy in court.

On behalf of a group of parents and schools, the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) has filed an original action with the Wisconsin Supreme Court to have the school closure reversed. The case is very similar to a case WILL is fighting in Madison, WCRIS v. Public Health Madison and Dane, and WILL hopes to combine the cases to strike down these types of school closures.

“The Wisconsin Supreme Court took our legal challenges and issued an injunction when Dane County illegally attempted to close all schools,” said Rick Esenberg, President and General Counsel for WILL. “Because the issues presented in Racine are so similar, it is our hope the Court will take the original action and issue a similar injunction in Racine while the Dane County case is under consideration.”

An email to Dottie-Kay Bowersox, the Public Health Administrator of the city of Racine Public Health Department named in the lawsuit, went unanswered by press time.

The city of Racine Public Health Department issued the school closure order on November 12, closing all private and public school buildings from November 27 to January 15.

According to WILL, the order is similar to the closure order issued on August 21 in Dane County. On September 10, the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued an injunction while it considers the original order in that case.